Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Qualities for My Children: Hard Work

Although I wrote my introductory post about instilling qualities in my children several weeks ago, it has taken me a while to get back to the topic. I think, well, actually I know, it is because I'm really struggling to get my ideas together, and I want to make a truly complete post about each quality. I've come to the realization that I need to sit down and write each of these posts to make me really study each quality. There is no real reason to the order in which I'm writing about these qualities. I'm just writing about them as I've had time to really think about the quality and meditate on what I truly want my children to display in their lives. I will freely admit that I don't always display these qualities the way I should in my life, and I hope this study will help me personally as well.

I want my children to be hard workers. I want them to put their all into what they do. I want them to understand what their responsibilities are and to complete the actions necessary to take care of the responsibilities. I want them to work hard whether or not me or my husband is watching them. I want them to recognize there is a need, and without being told, take care of the need without complaining. I really have some high expectations here!

Consider Colossians 3:22-24:
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
While I know the servant-master relationship is not the same as the child-parent relationship, I think a general principal can be applied from this passage. The servant is to work as working for the Lord, and not only for men. This is an important principal which is tied directly to hard work.

I hope that my children become individuals who work hard at their job, who work hard at their marriage and parenting, and who work hard at studying God's Word and spreading the Gospel to others. I want them to become individuals who work hard, often expecting nothing in return, but working hard because it is the right thing to do.

How do I teach my children to be hard workers? I think that as I write about these qualities, my first answer to how do I teach my children about the quality is going to be the same: I teach them by example. How can I expect my children to be hard workers if I am not? How can I expect them to complete tasks without complaining if I don't? The questions could go on. I know that I don't always put the effort and proper attitude into the things I need to do. I really need to work on myself when it comes to hard work; perhaps this is one of the reasons this quality came first to my mind.

I can also teach them about hard work by making them put the quality into practice. As an example, I'm reminded of something I read in the parenting book I've mentioned before, Your Mama Don't Dance by Glenn and Cindy Colley. One thing the authors suggested dealing with chores was something I had never thought about before. The authors suggest that you don't pay your children for doing chores that are and should be expected of them. There are many reasons for this, but I think in application to hard work, it teaches children that hard work is expected of them, and they should pull their part without having to be rewarded for their work with money or some other type of payment.

Leading by example and requiring my children to put this quality into practice are probably the most powerful ways I can teach my children about hard work. However, I must also communicate directly with them about hard work, especially considering what they Bible says about hard work. Here are some more verses to consider:
Ecclesiastes 9:10:
Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with you might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Proverbs 6:6:
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.
Proverbs 12:24:
The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
Proverbs 15:19:
The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway.

Now that I've finished writing this post, I realize that there are many qualities I want to write about that are interwoven within this post. As I continue my posts on this series, I'll link posts back so it will be as complete as possible!